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Intentional Software

The Challenge

Intentional Software needed a team of elite developers who could create the revolutionary software the company’s visionary founder had in mind. But the startup’s core team was too busy building the company to effectively recruit candidates, let alone know where to find them.

The Hansell Tierney Solution

Intentional brought consultants from Hansell Tierney in-house to function as their internal recruitment team. This enabled Intentional not just to recruit, but to build a recruiting infrastructure.

Since beginning the onsite engagement in 2011, Hansell Tierney has standardized the recruiting process, put an applicant-tracking system in place, set up a review system, developed the employment branding story and much more.


  • Hansell Tierney has taken recruiting off the plates of key staff and freed them to focus on their specialties.
  • Working with Hansell Tierney, Intentional Software has grown from 15 people to 70.
  • Their most recent group of elite developer intern talent has made them the envy of technology firms nationwide.

The Full Story

Genius developers typically aren’t extroverts, which can create a challenge when a company deploys them to campus recruiting fairs.

Picture this: Standing inside the company booth, you have brilliant developer employees, who have no experience reaching out to or recruiting people.

Walking down the aisle on the other side of the booth, you have a steady flow of also- brilliant student developers, who are not crackerjack self-promoters.

How do you introduce the two of them?

Once you introduce them, how do you figure out if the student might be a candidate for the company’s internship program?

Who sets up and runs the internship program?

So many questions.

Recruiting was proving frustrating

Shane Clifford of Intentional Software knew those recruiting challenges well. Clifford is the vice president of product management at Intentional — a company that aims to create a new kind of programming paradigm by encoding human intention in source code.

In 2011, they were struggling to find developers, and they didn’t have a recruiting and hiring process in place. Hansell Tierney suggested placing one of their senior consultants on site at Intentional to work full time as their dedicated recruiter.

“They just took away the hassle.”

That meant teaching employees how to interview, helping the company identify the best people to do the interviewing, standardizing the recruiting process, putting an applicant-tracking system in place, setting up a review system, developing the employment branding story that would make people want to work at Intentional, and providing subject-matter expertise to HR departments.

“Recruiting was becoming too big a part of my daily job,” said Clifford. “Having them sourcing everything, lining up the resumes, and finding candidates was super-convenient. They just took away the hassle.”

Still, there was one key piece the company needed.

When you’re working with a client, Tierney said, “You’re always trying to figure out who is the ideal candidate.”

The client can’t always articulate it. But after frank conversations with Simonyi, Tierney had the insight that the people the company really needed to target were recent college graduates.

So Hansell Tierney started a campus recruiting program from scratch and developed an internship program.

Now when the company goes out to take part in campus recruiting fairs, a member of the Hansell Tierney team is there to create a connection between employee and candidate. This allows for productive dialogue and bolsters the Intentional brand.

Such soft skills typify the human touch Hansell Tierney brings to recruiting — in addition to their process excellence and deep experience.

Do soft skills matter?

As Clifford said, “We are on more big company radars for our ability to recruit people than we are for our technology.”

What’s it meant to Intentional?

Since partnering with Hansell Tierney, Intentional Software has grown from 15 people to 70. And their most recent crop of 29 interns were the best technology students from MIT and Stanford, people “Google would have killed to have,” says Clifford.

Hansell Tierney has been indispensable to the creating of a world-class software company.

Or, as Clifford puts it, “They saved our bacon.”


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